Sunday, January 27, 2013

Brainstormer App for Writers

Looking for unique, exciting, unpredictable characters, plots, and settings?

Editors are, too. But it is often difficult for me to force myself beyond the ordinary and catapult my imagination to combine extraordinary elements into plausible situations that will intrigue readers and editors.

Brainstormer by Tapnik is an app designed to prick your imagination and tempt it to try something different. It features a wheel with three elements: a plot, a subject, and a setting or style. Move each wheel individually to select from the myriad of possibilities. Or (my favorite), click on the dice to let it randomly select a combination for you.

Some combinations are very unique (healing journey, undead, chef), however, I don't rule out any combination too quickly. I let it percolate in my creative juices for a while and see what happens. Even if I can't pull it together into a submittable piece, I use the combinations as a jump start for a free-writing exercise (which often does lead to a saleable piece).

Click on the settings button (the cog picture) to see three other brainstormers: Character Creator, World Builder, and Imagined Animals.

So maybe my next book will be about a majestic rhinoceros hiding in a prehistoric windmill who smuggles diamonds as part of a revolt movement.

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Writer Resolutions

Every January first, I'm tempted to succumb to the tradition of making "New Years Resolutions" and pretend to plan to make positive changes in my life. These include personal as well as professional resolutions.

For example:
1. Lose twenty pounds.
2. Watch fewer "reality" shows.
3. Write every day.
4. Get an agent.
5. Get my young adult fantasy published.

The above "resolutions," although good intentioned, have a somewhat mystic quality of a wish rather than a resolution. Its as if I could dig a magic lamp out of my backyard, rub it three times, and win the equivalent of the writer's lottery: a book contract.

So this year, my NYR consists of one item:
1. Make goals that I have control over achieving instead of wishes.

So my new list includes:
1. Exercise daily.
2. Write every day.
3. Add to my blog at least once a week.
4. Write an awesome query letter.
5. Submit the above awesome query letter to appropriate agents and editors.
6. Attend local conferences to network with fellow writers, hone my craft, and meet appropriate agents and editors.
7. Read within and outside my genre.

These are goals within my power to accomplish. Borrowing an educational term, they are "measurable" instead of just "wishable." This is a list that can earn check marks as each item is completed. Most allow for multiple "checks" for an extra boost to my goal-setting ego.

And with some hard work and a little luck, maybe I will win the writer's lottery and earn a book contract in 2013, too.

Friday, January 18, 2013

Fun Friday: Clueless Crossword Puzzle for Geometry

Below is a typical crossword puzzle, except there aren't any standard "definition" clues. The clues are in the puzzle itself. Each letter in the puzzle's words have been replaced with a number. Another clue: all the terms are geometry terms.

Click on the image shown to download the PDF of the puzzle and addition directions. Enjoy!